Shark Side of the Moon (2022) Wanes Quickly Once Its Fishy Gimmick Appears
Title: Shark Side of the Moon
First Non-Festival Release: August 12, 2022 (Digital/Streaming Platforms)
Director: Glenn Campbell, Tammy Klein
Writer: Ryan Ebert, Anna Rasmussen
Runtime: 88 Minutes
Starring: Maxi Witrak, Ego Mikitas, Tania Fox
Where to Watch: Check out where to find it here
Back when Russia was still the USSR, a top-secret laboratory contends with the consequences of their foolish mistake concerning their dangerous experiments. Their genetically modified shark-human hybrids led an uprising which led to the deaths of everyone at the base, except one brave scientist named Sergei (Ego Mikitas) who traps the sharks on a shuttle and blasts them into space, sacrificing himself in the process. Decades later, Commander Nicole Tress (Maxi Witrak) leads a team of astronauts on the United States’ first mission to the moon since Neil Armstrong. After a successful launch, they find themselves in a conundrum when their ship is forcefully pulled into the moon’s orbit and crash lands on the surface. Surviving space will be the least of their worries once they discover what remains from the experiments all these years later.
Horrendously mediocre, Shark Side of the Moon defies logic and entertainment in confounding sci-fi horror adventure.
Based on premise alone, Shark Side of the Moon isn’t meant to be taken seriously. This doesn’t mean, however, that it gets to skate by on its failures without pushback. All films are required to provide in terms of story, characters, suspense, and hopefully some entertainment value. Unfortunately, Shark Side of the Moon does none of these aspects justice.
Disjointed and erratic, the story behind this astronomical sharksploitation is confounding to say the least. There are many leaps of logic expected from the viewer. For a film this silly, it’s fine to forgive a few. The problem is Shark Side of the Moon insists on explaining everything about the universe while continuously painting itself into a corner. After explaining how the sharks survived the conditions, there must be talks about how Sergei stayed alive for 60 years, then how the species reproduced, and so on and so forth. The worldbuilding would be impressive if it weren’t much like the set: barely held together with duct tape and dream.
The absurdity of it all would be hilarious if the film had any sense of pacing or timing. Shark Side of the Moon drags on for what seems like hours. Perhaps its due to the quick introduction and reveal of its antagonists, maybe it’s the insistence of explaining every aspect of its world, or it could be the rough acting that does it. Regardless, sitting through Shark Side of the Moon should elicit more intentional laughs than it does.
Beyond its nonsensical story and failure to capitalize on its premise, Shark Side of the Moon is unsurprisingly a poorly made film. From set design to special effects, everything looks fake and cheap. There are moments that look closer to TikTok filters than actual frames from a motion picture. Even sci-fi standards are given the Great Value treatment. Halfway through the film, it is decided that astronaut suits are unnecessary and all characters need to survive on the moon while staying hidden from the sharks are little plastic breathing tubes and black wetsuits. Could they only afford four space suits at a time?
There is little to celebrate here, but Shark Side of the Moon is far from the worst offering on streaming services. At least on three distinct occasions, this reviewer laughed with the movie instead of at it, which shows that there’s some modicum of comedic talent within the script. Speaking of the writing, while it is hilariously bad at many points, it is impossible to say that the team is not creative and bold with their decisions. This is not to approve or say that these decisions are good, but certainly Shark Side of the Moon makes choices that you may not see elsewhere.
There isn’t much left to be said. Shark Side of the Moon is a cute attempt at creating a “so-bad-it’s-good” film that fails to capture the energy required to launch such an effort. Agonizingly boring exposition and repetitive action sequences take away from the untapped potential that this silly premise offers. If you’ve exhausted all other possibilities and simply must watch something, Shark Side of the Moon can’t be much worse than the bottom of the barrel most streaming sites can offer.
Overall Score? 3/10